The Liberal Democrats have announced that they will add another £1 billion for mental ill health care through putting a penny on income tax. £5m of this extra money would be ring-fenced as dedicated funding for mental health services in Camden, as part of a £20m package of extra NHS funding across the borough.
This would help to deliver on 12 key priorities, including improving waiting time standards for mental health care on the NHS and providing support for pregnant women and young people suffering from mental health problems.
The announcement comes as Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron and Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb unveiled last week a Five Point NHS and Care Recovery Plan to increase funding for health and social care services, including a penny on income tax to provide a £6 billion funding boost.
The Liberal Democrats will also set out to end the inappropriate use of force against people with mental ill health, end out of area placements for mental health patients and prioritise national action to reduce the number of suicides.
The former head of the NHS David Nicholson has backed the Liberal Democrats’ plans. He is joined by a group of 26 leading health experts including ex-heads of the Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of GPs and Royal College of Psychiatrists, who all endorsed the approach in a letter to the Observer.
Commenting on the plan, Kirsty Allan, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, said:
“The social stigma attached to poor mental health is still far too widespread. But mental ill health isn’t something that we should shy away from or ignore as a society, and people with mental ill health don’t need to face these issues alone.
“The Liberal Democrats have been at the forefront of calling for parity of esteem, valuing mental health equally with physical health, and will continue to lead efforts to increase funding and support.
“Proper treatment for mental health issues remain woefully inadequate, and both the Labour and Conservative plans miss the mark in taking the necessary steps to improve services for the long term.
"We will invest in improving waiting time standards for mental health care across Camden, end the use of force against people with mental ill health and prioritise national action to dramatically reduce the number of people who take their own lives.”
Stephen Crosher, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Holborn and St Pancras, said:
“It is essential that mental health is given the same status within the NHS as physical health. All too often one is the cause of the other. Treating physical health in many patients without treating underlying mental health issues can become ineffective and a huge waste of resources.
“I welcome the proposed additional spending of £5m for Camden by the Liberal Democrats, as it will make a real difference to thousands of peoples lives across the borough.”